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Epitope-Specific CD8+ T Lymphocytes Cross-Recognize Mutant Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV) Sequences but Fail To Contain Very Early Evolution and Eventual Fixation of Epitope Escape Mutations during SIV Infection ▿ †

By Evan M. Cale, Peter Hraber, Elena E. Giorgi, Will Fischer, Tanmoy Bhattacharya, Thomas Leitner, Wendy W. Yeh, Cheryl Gleasner, Lance D. Green, Cliff S. Han, Bette Korber and Norman L. Letvin


Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) evade containment by CD8+ T lymphocytes through focused epitope mutations. However, because of limitations in the numbers of viral sequences that can be sampled, traditional sequencing technologies have not provided a true representation of the plasticity of these viruses or the intensity of CD8+ T lymphocyte-mediated selection pressure. Moreover, the strategy by which CD8+ T lymphocytes contain evolving viral quasispecies has not been characterized fully. In the present study we have employed ultradeep 454 pyrosequencing of virus and simultaneous staining of CD8+ T lymphocytes with multiple tetramers in the SIV/rhesus monkey model to explore the coevolution of virus and the cellular immune response during primary infection. We demonstrated that cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL)-mediated selection pressure on the infecting virus was manifested by epitope mutations as early as 21 days following infection. We also showed that CD8+ T lymphocytes cross-recognized wild-type and mutant epitopes and that these cross-reactive cell populations were present at a time when mutant forms of virus were present at frequencies of as low as 1 in 22,000 sequenced clones. Surprisingly, these cross-reactive cells became enriched in the epitope-specific CD8+ T lymphocyte population as viruses with mutant epitope sequences largely replaced those with epitope sequences of the transmitted virus. These studies demonstrate that mutant epitope-specific CD8+ T lymphocytes that are present at a time when viral mutant epitope sequences are detected at extremely low frequencies fail to contain the later accumulation and fixation of the mutant epitope sequences in the viral quasispecies

Topics: Pathogenesis and Immunity
Publisher: American Society for Microbiology
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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